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Everything posted by Condor

  1. I ventured down to Mexico City for the first time over the weekend of October 3-4 to visit Six Flags Mexico, home of what would be my third RMC, and La Feria Chapultepec, a park I never imagined I would actually visit. This was also my first time visiting Mexico in any capacity outside of uber-touristy Cancun, which was guaranteed to be interesting considering I neglected to use any of my high school Spanish for the past nine years and had forgotten almost all of it. What made this opportunity possible was my chance meeting at Cedar Point a year ago with fellow TPR member, Carlos. We were on the same Millennium Force train and he apparently recognized me from another photo TR and we ended up hanging out and have stayed in touch since. He extended an open invitation for me to visit his home in Mexico City, so I figured the absolute least I could do after over a year was to stop blowing all my money on other trips within the US and finally go to Mexico and visit him! We did a lot more besides the two parks, and while I won’t get into that here, it was an eye opening experience for me and I found that much of Mexico City is extremely nice, in many ways more so than major US cities. I had a great time and plan to return. Onto the parks and coasters: Six Flags Mexico – I had read that this was aesthetically one of the nicest SF parks. After about three minutes inside the place, I had already seen enough to support this. It’s still missing one more quality coaster (a B&M dive or wing coaster would do wonders here) away from rounding out its collection, but even without, it’s still my favorite of the midsize Six Flags parks I’ve been to (others being SFNE, SFStl, and SFDK). Landscaping was as nice as you’ll find at this kind of park, theming was a cut above the usual, and operations and cleanliness were exceptional across the board. I only ate Johnny Rockets so I can’t comment on the food, preferring to preserve my authentic Mexican dining experiences for establishments outside of theme parks. I was also able to attend Six Fags Mexico’s version of Fright Fest, called Festival de Terror. Since I live in Southern California and have access to Universal, Knott’s, and the Queen Mary for Halloween events, I have never visited a Six Flags, including SFMM, for Fright Fest, so I can’t make that comparison here. But I will say that I had a much better experience than I did opening night of Knott’s Scary Farm this year, where I found production value to be high, but the scares to be light (I plan go back again later in the month). SF Mexico can’t compete with Knott’s on budget, but it’s definitely a case of doing more with less. So many haunted mazes at US parks these days are overly well-lit to showcase set design or a particular IP, and since SFM doesn’t need to concern itself with that they aimed instead for making the darkest, creepiest, most unsettling atmosphere possible in every maze. There were nine in total and I remember at least six of them being exceptionally scary, in particular Witches, which takes you outside the park into the forest with loads of fog, dark tunnels, and places where you can’t even be sure you’re still following the path. The event heavily reminded me of Knott’s around ten years ago. Medusa Steel Coaster – This ride was everything I hoped it would be. It’s my favorite of the three RMCs I’ve ridden (ahead of Outlaw Run and Twisted Colossus) and by the end of the trip it made its way into my steel top 5 (behind only Skyrush, Maverick, I305, and MF). Like all other RMCs the general ride experience is a known quantity by now – superb smoothness, relentless pacing, sustained ejector airtime on every hill. But what oddly enough stood out to me about Medusa was the sound it makes. This coaster is LOUD. My home RMC, Twisted Colossus, is almost silent, yet Medusa roars like an old school B&M funneled through Tom Hardy’s Bane mask. I asked Carlos about this and he said the sound is a recent development and that it was quiet like Colossus until just recently. Thinking this might have been a result of the park tinkering with the wheels, we observed them and indeed, each train seems to run a different arrangement of at least two types of wheels. Not sure which ones are polyurethane, nylon, or whatever else. I’ve seen similar comments about Wicked Cyclone on here too. Does anyone know more? Superman El Ultimo Escape – One of two big surprises on this trip. By now I have ridden several Morgans and while Phantom’s Revenge and Lightning Run belong to one category, I find that their distant cousins Steel Force and Mamba fall into a slightly *ahem* lower class, even though I still enjoy them. Just by looking at Superman you’d think it would be fairly easy to discern which class it belongs in. But Holy Kryptonian-Feaux-Messiah-Figure was I wrong. Superman may look like Mexican Mamba, but it doesn’t ride like it at all. Not only do the pre-lift drops and the main drop all provide actual airtime, the pair of inclined spirals are packed to the gills with positive and lateral g’s! And the craziest part of all is that when the train plows over the crest of the second spiral it enters the oddest moment of sustained, borderline ejector air I’ve ever felt. It’s a truly wonderful and surreal sensation, especially in the front car, and I can’t think of another moment quite like it on another coaster. There’s more quality air to be found on the cammelbacks after the MCBR and also unlike Mamba and Steel Force, this MCBR doesn’t rob the train of any speed whatsoever. It only came on for blocking purposes once out of my six laps on it. If you can’t already tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this coaster and I’d even say it’s better than half of the B&M hypers I’ve ridden. The rest of SFM’s coaster lineup is all clones and kiddie coasters you can find just about anywhere, so I won’t detail them here. But I will say that Dark Knight, Joker, and Batman: The SLC all ran pretty well. La Feria Chapultepec – Oh my god this place is so ghetto. There’s trash everywhere, I got sick from the water, the toilets don’t work, the rides are dirty, the employees are untrained, and I almost got pick-pocketed four times!!! I’m sure that’s what at least some people might expect of this park. But in my experience, almost none of it is true! La Feria is obviously not the nicest park in the world and it’s clearly intended to service a particular clientele. However, I found it to be a pleasant enough place with a decent collection of eclectic coasters and flats you just don’t see in many parks. I really enjoyed it and easily could have spent more time here had we not planned for an afternoon’s worth of sightseeing around the city. The closest comparison I can make is of an urban, Mexican version of a place like Waldameer. I’d definitely go back again. If I’ll complain about one thing, it’s the operations. No one has any clue what’s going on at this park. For one example, the process to get a front of the line wristband went something like this: (1) Go to Guy A at guest services stand. (2) Guy A tells you to go see Guy B who will give you a piece of paper to bring back to Guy A. (3) Guy B gives you the paper, but says to talk to Guy C, not Guy A like we were just told. (4) Guy C says he has no idea what Guy B is talking about and to go back to Guy A with our paper after all. (5) Guy A writes something on the paper from Guy B and tells us to take that to Guy D to get our wristbands. (6) Guy D finally gives us our wristbands. Montaña Triple Loop – Like everyone else, I’m a lover of all things Schwarzkopf, so I was really looking forward to riding this. It’s also likely the closest I’ll ever get to riding Olympia Looping (but then again, I never thought I’d be here either…) so I was going to make myself enjoy it no matter what. And I did. We rode it three times and two of them were awesome. Good old fashioned Anton g-forces and kind-of-but-not-really heartlining were just what I was in the mood for. Some of the transitions felt a bit more jarring on my third ride, but nothing to complain about (I like to think I'm above complaining about unimportant things like pain). A solid ride you won't find anything similar to in the US, but it was surprisingly not my favorite coaster at the park. Cascabel – My second Schwarzkopf shuttle loop. It experienced mucho downtime during my visit so I only got to go once, but my lone ride on “Rattlesnake” was an interesting one that I’ll detail later in the photos. Montaña Rusa – When you see a massive, old wooden coaster like this at a park with less than stellar operations it’s hard to feel encouraged. I’ll be honest, I expected this thing to go full Lex Luger and put me up in the Torture Rack. But it turns out if you know where to ride it, Montaña Rusa is pretty good! We employed the strategy I use for all suspect coasters running trains with 3-bench cars: Ride only in the middle row of any car (i.e. seats not above the wheels) or in the front seat of the first car. This coaster feels mostly like a monstrous scenic railway with a lot of sudden drops to make sure you don’t gaze at the Mexico City skyline for too long from any one angle. And I call them drops only because that’s the commonly accepted word for them, but they’re more like steep ramps with sharp pullovers and pullouts that occasionally create some startling airtime or positive g’s. Since it's already made it this far, I hope Montaña Rusa never changes. It even crawled its way into my wooden top 20, something I never would have believed had you told me a week earlier. Ratón Loco – I know most people seem to be pretty high on the Mauer spinning coasters, but their counterparts from Reverchon just might be my favorite after riding this one and Kennywood’s Exterminator. A big part of that is how La Feria runs theirs almost trim-free except where absolutely necessary. I’ve never been on a more thrilling spinner. Crazy laterals all over the place and unlike the two Mauers I rode recently it---and I almost didn’t believe this--- actually spins! Probably would be too extreme for overly sensitive American families. We passed La Feria on the highway to Six Flags Mexico. We'll return later. Front parking lot was already full when we arrived, so they directed us to the back lot, allowing some interesting views of Superman. It's an impressive structure no matter how many hypers or gigas you've seen. This is where the Kryptonian-level airtime happens. Superman's drop looks identical to Steel Force and Mamba's drops in profile, so I'm not sure why this one has so much more airtime. I thought about making a "leaps the future Justice League building in a single bound" joke here, but then I realized it was lame. Batman: The Rough This SLC honestly isn't that bad. It was one of the more comfortable ones. Superman's and Batman's entrances aren't anywhere near each other, but the complementary layout placement makes for some good photo ops. At least SLCs usually look pretty cool. The presentation of this one is especially nice. Kilauea is the park's volcano themed S&S tower. Apparently the program this one used to run was insane, but nowadays it's been toned down. I couldn't tell you which Festival de Terror maze this werewolf is supposed to represent, but at least it's theming! OMG Halloween theming!!! Wtf is that!? WTF IS THAT??? Medusa is perched on a hill overlooking the front entrance, making it appear much taller than it is. SFM as a whole is situated higher than the rest of Mexico city, making for some incredible lift hill views from Medusa and Superman. Most of the park is heavily shaded and well landscaped. Especially this area right around Medusa. Scare actors are out in the daytime here. In general they were more aggressive in scaring people than what you'll find in the US. Shows what you can do when you don't have to worry about morons suing for things like emotional distress. I had this terrible feeling standing in line that my expectations for Medusa were so high that it couldn't possibly meet or exceed them. The problem inherent to this type of thinking is that even if the coaster is extremely good, every ride on it will still feel somewhat disappointing even though you're enjoying the experience. I have just this second decided to dub this "the coaster enthusiast's paradox." And it almost happened on Medusa. After my first ride on it I thought, "Well, that was really, really, remarkably good, but is that good enough?" After several more laps, that feeling subsided and I came to understand that Medusa was very much a top 5 coaster in my book. I feel like a minimum of three rides is required to truly appreciate and analyze an elite coaster. I had the same experience with Intimidator 305, where after that third ride, I was more in tune with it and could better understand the nuances of the coaster. Every hill has ejector air on Medusa, and not just in certain rows. It's in every row. There are no bad seats. I like how RMC was able to preserve so much of CCI Medusa's layout while still being innovative. I'm told this is the original Vekoma boomerang and the park was even thoughtful enough to paint it in the same colors my local one at Knott's once sported just to make sure I felt at home. I have been pretty lucky with my SLCs. Most of them have treated me gently, including this one. Come to think of it, the only SLC that has not treated me with the respect I like to think I deserve is Kong. I believe the full, proper name for this ride is: Superman la Atraccion Muy Importante Grande Escape de Acero It looks decent in this shot, but Superman badly needs a repaint. Maybe one next year to coincide with the opening of Justice League. Joker was the second best spinning coaster of the trip. The inverting drop was great, but it's still not my second, third, fourth, or even fifth favorite element on this coaster. I really like Medusa's station for some reason. But will it hit the bolts? It appears not. Guess these Rocky Mountain Construction guys are pretty good at their jobs, eh? If you're fat, ride like this. This is how Carlos and I pregame for Festival de Terror and more Medusa. Very impressed with SFM's ability to do more with less in their mazes. Dolls was one of the better ones. We came back the next morning to catch Sky Screamer. This is a 250 ft model, but with the park's elevation above the rest of the city, it felt more like the 400 ft version. I put Medusa in my pantheon of coasters with great views from the crest of their lift hills. The others: Ravine Flyer II, Millennium Force, Sheikra, and Wildfire @ SDC. Prior to 2015 I had only ridden one RMC: Outlaw Run. So far this year I have added Twisted Colossus and Medusa, and then in December I will get to ride New Texas Giant and Iron Rattler. Very curious to see how they compare. Finally we arrive at La Feria. Some quick research shows that this coaster started out in 1984 as Dreier Looping on the German fair circuit, then operated as Triple Loop Coaster at Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia, then in 2000 became Magnum Force at Flamingoland (where I first heard of it) in the UK, and finally ended up here in Mexico City where it has run as both Montaña Triple Loop and Montaña Infinitum. Seems this Schwarzkopf has had quite a life. For such an impressive looking and accessibly placed compact coaster, finding good angles for photos is frustratingly difficult. I didn't attend La Feria's Halloween events. Not sure what the difference between the two is. Possibly just a way to drive ticket sales by offering two supposedly different products. Ended the night with a few other-worldly night rides on Medusa. We waited until night to try and ride Sky Screamer. Sadly this did not happen. The park has all kinds of nice little touches like the mountain backdrop behind the circle swing. If Anton is your man, La Feria has you covered. So I promised a story about Cascabel. Watching off-ride, the train never climbed much higher up the front spike than this, or slightly lower than I'm accustomed to seeing Montezooma's Revenge go. So Carlos and I climbed into the front row expecting a just so-so ride. But then something happened. Our train hurdled out of the station, almost blew our faces off in the loop, and shot sufficiently high enough up the front spike to alarm both of us. I know distance can be deceiving when you're riding, but we honestly felt like we were 3-5 feet away from being able to touch the buffer at the top. I have no idea how high we actually went, but never in my many rides on Montezooma, or in Carlos' rides on Cascabel, had we ever gone as high as this. After going what felt like equally high up the back spike, our train returned and actually overshot the station by about 2 car lengths. Now in America, since Cascabel doesn't have handrails out past the station, I imagine we would have been told to wait in the train for however long it took mechanics to pull it back in. But here the ride ops just popped the lap bars and looked at us like, "Well, what are you two waiting for? It's time to get out." So we did an followed a maybe 18-inch wide walkway back to the station like there was no problem. I love it when people are empowered to use common sense. Triple Loop was my first Schwarzkopf with a curved lift. I regret not getting a better photo of it because the engineering is kind of cool. Underneath every 3-4 feet of track is an individual driveshaft connected by a gearbox to the next driveshaft ahead of it. That's a lot of driveshafts. My Anton chariot awaits. What I didn't know is that Triple Loop had race car-like over the shoulder seatbelts added at some point in its life. They don't affect the ride experience at all except for being annoying, but they do slow down dispatches quite a bit. I usually grayed out a bit in the second loop. I LOVE graying out. As impressed as I was with Superman, Montaña Rusa was the real surprise of the trip. It has as big a station as you will ever see. One thing that was very cool is the sense of pride you can tell its ride ops and caretakers feel for working it. If you're buff, ride like this. None of the drops are that steep and you don't go over most of them that fast, but the sharp transitions from straight track to the pullovers make for unexpected airtime in several places. I'm pretty sure this is the only parabolic hill on the whole coaster. This is where most of the daytime scare actors roamed. I believe the building on the right is either a year around haunt or a dark ride. There were quite a few of them while were there and the park blared a siren right around when we were leaving to signal that more monsters had been released. Ratón Loco might be my favorite mouse/spinning coaster to date. It was almost violent. Great stuff. The first of two back to back moments of surprise airtime if you ride up front. I could have spent half the day riding this. Like I said, choose your seats wisely and there's no roughness to worry about. Not a philosophy that would fly on a modern coaster, but one I think is appropriate for a 1964 NAD woodie that still runs as originally built. My favorite coaster at La Feria. We did not get to ride Cascabel again. It reopened but the train in these pics overshot the station again and it remained closed.
  2. Great video! Riding in the middle row of any car (i.e. any non wheel seat) on Magnum mitigates the roughness tremendously, even in the back. It's always surprised me how this is not better known. That said, I do understand why Magnum isn't everyone's cup of tea. The complaints about the airtime being painful on people's thighs are a different story. Is it just me or did the concept of "painful airtime" not even largely exist until Skyrush came around and made it a thing? I don't remember anyone making this complaint about Magnum until just the last couple of years.
  3. Only need Afterburn to complete my list of all the U.S. inverts. 1. Raptor 2. Dragon Challenge - Fireball 3. Montu 4. Flight Deck 5. Alpengeist 6. Banshee 7. Great Bear 8. Dragon Challenge - Horntail (I find this one's layout much less inspired than Fire's) 9. Talon 10. Silver Bullet 11. Batman: The Ride 12. Patriot Patriot is really the only one on the list I don't enjoy. I get off the ride feeling like absolutely nothing happened.
  4. I'll use this to create a lineup with a variety of experiences I could see at an actual park. Using only coasters I've ridden: Giga: Millennium Force Hyper: Skyrush (I know both are Intamin, but the experiences are nothing alike) Hybrid: Twisted Colossus Invert: Raptor Wooden 1: Boulder Dash Wooden 2: Phoenix Launched: Revenge of The Mummy Anything 1: Kumba Anything 2: Thunderation Anything 3: Mind Bender (SFOG)
  5. I'll be visiting Kings Island for the first time in over ten years on Sunday 6/21. How necessary will Fast Lane be on a Sunday? We want to get all the credits and at least 3-5 laps each on Diamondback and Banshee, and probably a few on Beast.
  6. Wow this is overdue. I actually had it written and all but posted more than a week ago, but that ended up not happening for reasons I’m not secure enough to mention on an online discussion forum. Because it’s so overdue, I have decided to post much more in-depth reviews for all of BGW’s coasters than I did for Kings Dominion. I’ve decided to do this for the following two reasons: (1) BGW only has six coasters compared to KD’s fourteen, and (2) I had an infinitely easier day at work today than when I wrote the last part (Seriously, I didn’t do anything. I left after two hours then went to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ with my bosses). We went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg on a Sunday, the second week of Howl-O-Scream, so I bought quick queue passes in preparation for HOS crowds. This turned out not to be a good decision because every ride in the park was a walk-on or 1-2 train wait all day from opening to close. I think we actually benefited from the passes only twice when we used them to skip a combined total of approximately five people going into a couple of mazes. Neither of us had been to HOS before and we both felt the event was just okay. Beyond that, I'm not really in the mood to defend my opinions on HOS right now, so I just won't share them! Loch Ness Monster: Each manufacturer usually has at least one outdated coaster that transcends the limitations of its era and is still a quality ride experience long after its contemporaries have become obsolete. Many of Loch Ness’s contemporaries (Orient Express, Shockwave, GASM) have even been removed altogether and 1978’s Nessie is between two and eleven years older than all of them! I only got to ride this twice, but the reasons for its longevity were still very clear to me. It has an amazing setting, it’s as smooth as this type gets, forces and airtime are all there without being painful, the layout is unique, and it has a long ride time to enjoy it all. I’ve been on two old Arrow coasters that I think transcend their eras. One is Magnum XL-200 (I will argue and support this against anyone) and the other is Loch Ness Monster. I hope Busch can continue taking care of it for years to come. Griffon: I have a theory that B&M dive machines will one day be looked at the same way we look at S&S towers today: They were really cool at first, but as time went on, we all became more and more aware that they were one-trick ponies that offered little in the way of variety and substance to keep them relevant as they aged (btw, I hope this theory proves wrong). The pairs of vertical drops are great, but the way B&M had to marginalize the rest of the layout to accommodate the wide cars and make this model distinct from the basic sitdown/floorless layouts hurts them once you get over the initial splooge of the first drop. I remember Robb made a comment once about how Griffon makes you basically take the same ride twice. Up, vertical drop, immelman, turn, stop. I’d have to agree. You’d assume two inversions would put this one above Shiekra, but for some reason, it doesn’t. It might be the simple repetition or it might be that Shiekra is much better immersed in its environment than Griffon is. It’s hard to say exactly why, but something about Shiekra is organic to its surroundings while Griffon is simply a well-landscaped roller coaster. I like both, but Shiekra is better. Alpengeist: My favorite coaster in the park. The raw power behind this thing is something I have not felt on another inverted coaster. I don’t only mean positive g’s, but some combination of those along with the height, speed, and terrain. Alpengeist just feels like bodybuilder of B&M inverts. But even then, it still seems like only a shadow of what it could be. This is another Busch B&M that the parks have decided needs excess trimming. The weird little trim on the pre-drop coming off the lift probably doesn’t affect much, but the mid-course practically destroys the second half. This should be nothing new and is all stuff I knew to expect, however actually riding the thing makes it more frustrating because I otherwise liked it better than I thought I would. Alpengeist could honestly be my favorite invert if it ran without the first drop trim and with the mid-course dialed back 50%. BGT does the same thing with theirs and Montu is in the exact same situation as Alpengeist. At least Kumba still roars through the second half fast enough to make the mid-course inconsequential. I feel like all three could be top 10 steel coasters for me, but with how Busch runs them only Kumba gets there. Apollo’s Chariot: This was my third B&M hyper after Nitro and Goliath (SFOG). It's also now my third favorite B&M hyper after Nitro Goliath (SFOG). Don't interpret that as me saying I didn't like it. Because I did and that would make you wrong. We liked Apollo enough to ride it 15 times, ending with a nine-lap night marathon to close out the park. Apollo is simply a weaker coaster than either of the others in airtime and g’s, though it bests Nitro and probably equals Goliath in setting/scenery. This one just felt like an all-around milder experience. What I like best about Apollo are all the little nuances throughout the layout. The brief straightaways crossing the river, the pre-drop, and the varying length of the drops on the return run make it more unique and less of a catalog coaster than most B&Ms. Apollo lands just outside my steel top 20. Verbolten: I love the attention to detail in the station and queue line as well as the presentation in the show building. It’s hard to see from POVs what the layout is like once inside and I’m glad I didn’t know. There’s a nice, long helix in the dark in there that caught me off guard. The drop track doesn’t do a whole lot for me, though it works well enough in the context of Verbolten being a partial dark ride. I hate to be the guy who harps on every single trim brake on every single ride (though I am very much THAT GUY), but with Verbolten I just have to. Why launch us back up to speed coming out of the building if the first thing you’re going to do is slow us right back down before the big drop? I understand that Verbolten is supposed to be suitable for families and isn’t pushing hard for the extreme thrills, but you have to admit the magnetic trims on the bridge are a little excessive. But hey, maybe BGW is simply paying homage to the original on Big Bad Wolf (wink, wink). Grover's Alpine Express: There's something uniquely satisfying about a roller coaster that 100% fulfills every expectation you have for it. A lot of times when I ride new coasters, they will be either better or worse than I anticipated, so it is rare when I come across one that is exactly as good as I anticipated. Sometimes I don't want to be surprised or let down. I'm a person who likes to think in advance about how I might rate a particular coaster once I ride it and the surprise element of having those thoughts either validated or contradicted is always an adventure. But maybe I don't always want the adventure and would rather be able to just sit down and ride without my mind leaving the status quo. Grover delivered in spades. It was no more or less thrilling, intense, smooth, rough, long, short, or had better or worse airtime than I thought it would. And for people who pretend to not have a sense of humor and insist on interpreting every forum comment literally, please go hit yourself in the jaw with a hardcover encyclopedia. You can really compare the "old" style B&M inversions with the "new." Note how Alpengeist's track completely inverts at the apex of the half-loop, then snaps quickly into the roll. On Griffon it starts banking out of the immelman before it reaches the top, never fully inverting and lacking the "snap." I miss the snappies.... This is my Busch Gardens Williamsburg face. And this is his Busch Gardens W... well, never mind. Alpengeist is so easy to photograph. So many great angles, unlike Apollo's Chariot which is virtually impossible to see from inside the park. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy (look him up if you're bored. Guy's a boss.) Center at Dulles airport outside Washington D.C. It's where the Smithsonian brings their aircraft that are too big to easily transport to their other air & space museum in D.C. proper. If you are like most Americans under age 40 and know nothing about American history, the Enola Gay is the actual B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima to help end World War II in the Pacific. Boeing 367-80, or "Dash 80." This is the prototype Boeing jetliner and the forerunner of all the commercial 707s and Air Force KC-135 tankers. Probably the most important commercial plane ever built. Some Nazi swept wing research aircraft. Korean War rivals: Soviet Mig-15 and American F-86 Sabre. I had no idea how much bigger the Sabre is. Mig-21, owner of my favorite derogatory NATO call-sign ever: "Fishbed." (Btw, the Mig-15's is "Fagot." Seriously.) Vietnam era F-105 Thunderchief. This is the same SR-71 that transforms into that horrible old-man autobot that farts out a drag chute in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen. Shia Lebeouf had to come here to get him. Lockheed Martin X-35B. Prototype for the Marine F-35B Lightning that will soon be entering service. That's "soon" in aviation years. Which means "late and still 5-8 years away." The lift-fan system that allows it to take off and land vertically. The turbine at the rear turns a crankshaft that spins the fan up front. STOVL = Short TakeOff Vertical Landing
  7. My last trip of the year marked my first visit to both Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Kyle (Gnome) had been to Busch once years ago, but had a few new credits to pick up. We are both also aviation nuts to some degree, so we ended the trip with a stop at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Flight Center next to Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. We also missed personally witnessing the White House intruder by a couple of hours. True story. I didn't take quite as many photos as on my last trip, so here are my thoughts on the coasters not pictured. Rebel Yell: Much better than either of us anticipated. This is another one of those coasters you must ride in a middle seat to avoid sitting over the wheels. If you do this, you'll be in for a relatively comfortable ride that does a good job of maintaining its speed with several unexpected pops of airtime. If you don't do this (which we also tried) you might as well be riding SFMM's old Psyclone after a retrofit to square wheels. And why have I never heard about how great the first drop on Rebel Yell is? Probably the second best airtime moment in the park after I305. Grizzly: There seem to be two popular, conflicting internet opinions on Good Grizzly. (1) It's a genuine top 20 wooden coaster that gets overlooked due to age, manufacturer, association with its west coast sibling (Bad Grizzly), or some combination of the three. (2) It's nearly as bad as Bad Grizzly, only faster and less of a family ride. I felt it was much more the former. I won't go as far as to rank it top 20, but it was the most thrilling of KD's woodies and not too rough for me to enjoy. This one surprised me with its ferocity. I wish I had time to ride it more. Hurler: A perfect candidate for RMC topper track. Laying those heavy-duty rails down over the ground-hugging turns might allow the park to deactivate the trim breaks and deliver some legitimate airtime over the camel backs. The straight sections are fine, only the turns were painful. Kentucky Kingdom's Thunder Run doesn't even have topper track and it still shows how good these layouts can be if taken care of. Avalanche: Only bobsled I've done besides Disaster Transport. It's slow, short, and trimmed, so there's not much for us enthusiasts. A good family coaster though. Backlot Stunt Coaster: Definitely the surprise of the trip. We were too busy repeatedly sacrificing ourselves to I305 to ride this more than once, but it would be a regular must ride for me if KD was my home park. A lot of fun with some interesting forces. We both had mixed feelings on Volcano. The launches and first inversion are great, but after that it just felt too slow to be very exciting. Even if it's not as intense as later Intamins, I appreciate anything as unique as Volcano. And wow was the advice you guys gave correct. You simply MUST do Volcano first thing in the morning. Low capacity just ruins this things re-ridability later into the day. Like Maverick earlier this year, Intimidator 305 had virtually no room for failure. Anything less than a top-5 quality ride would have felt like a disappointment. Our first lap honestly left us a little concerned. It was REALLY, REALLY good, but it didn't exactly elevate either of us to the hightened plane of existence that we were hoping for. But there is a pattern I've noticed with elite Intamins as my credit count has grown. I often feel this way after my first ride on them. Maverick did it, Skyrush and Storm Runner did it... And now I305. The thing is, it usually takes me 2-4 laps to truly initiate myself into each Intamin's individual cult. But once that happens, I just can't stop drinking the Intamin kool-aid. I305 is now my #3 steel coaster, behind only Skyrush and Maverick. Fun fact: If Lebron James had signed with the Washington Wizards for some odd reason, Cedar Fair was going to rename this park "King James Dominion." I was not prepared for how nice this park was. I wasn't expecting SFMM circa 2001 or anything, but I had no idea KD was as well landscaped and presented as it is. This is my Kings Dominion face. In my best Jeff Goldblum (clears throat): "Ah, now you eventually do plan to have DINOSAURS, on your--on your dinosaur tour, right?" I rode Dominator back at Geauga Lake in 2004, but I barely remembered it. It rattles just a bit like many B&Ms as they age, but it's still a great ride and nicely rounds out KD's coaster collection. It's my third favorite floorless after Kraken and Superman Krypton Coaster. With only 5 inversions and lots of turns, Dominator could be the closest thing to how Rougarou will feel next year. We can only hope. The first drop on this thing is spectacular. One of the steepest, best twisting drops out there. Ugh, Shockwave. For reasons I can't defend, I was honestly really excited for my first Togo standup, tough I strongly doubted that I'd retain my enthusiasm post-ride. I was right. The weird thing about Shockwave is that it was painful in such a particular way that it actually became funny, and oddly enough, therefore kind of fun. It's amazing how even simple banking transitions create ejector air on this thing. Everything about it (original first turn exempted) is just so carefully calculated to maximize each foot of track. Anaconda is far from the worst Arrow looper out there. It has some likable qualities. And by "some" I mean "one." And by "qualities" I mean "location." "This is the vault. Or as some of us like to call it, the freak show..." (awkward laughter) You can't really photograph Flight of Fear, so these pics will have to do. Busch Gardens pics coming soon!
  8. Updated for 2014: 1. Skyrush 2. Boulder Dash 3. The Voyage 4. El Toro 5. Maverick 6. Intimidator 305 7. Phoenix 8. Outlaw Run 9. Kumba 10. Millennium Force
  9. After my latest trip... 1. Magnum XL-200 2. X2 3. Thunderation 4. Loch Ness Monster 5. The Bat/Flight Deck/Top Gun Count me in as another member of the Loch Ness fan club after finally riding it. It was only jarring in one place near the pullout from the first loop. Otherwise it was entirely enjoyable and even comfortable for an Arrow.
  10. Last day of the trip: Kennywood. Kennywood and Phantom's Revenge have been at the top of my "to do" list for years. Weather was perfect with only one-train op on Phantom and the necessity of meeting a riding partner for Thunderbolt hanging over my day. I was trying not to set my expectations too high, but I was secretly hoping Phantom had what it took to make my steel top 5, which was still a bit lacking compared to my wooden. The purple train was still out of commission, so with seemingly every high school student in Western Pennsylvania at the park that day, I knew long lines were coming. I rode it three times right away at opening and figured I'd return to it later that evening. Phantom delivered but I wasn't so sure it was top-5-worthy. It was glassy-smooth and absolutely hauls ass through the entire course, but at the time I thought it fell just short of that "elite" category. Arrow. I watch that show. Did you see the one when Oliver told Felicity he loved her, but then said he didn't really mean it even though he did really mean it? So good... I'll get to my Thunderbolt story later, but first a question: Isn't this thing supposed to have airtime? I always thought it was known to have at least moderate air on a few of the drops into the ravine. I rode back seat with a full train yet I stayed planted in my seat the whole time. I appreciated the one-of-a-kind layout and loved the strong laterals in the Andy Vettel-designed section, but even the two big drops underwhelmed me. Even Phantom's signature drop had the same effect. I lifted just a little out of my seat as the train crested the pull-over, then settled back down through the remainder. Still a rush to fly downward over the terrain, but not quite the out-of-my-seat experience I expected. But then again this originated in the pre-parabolic drop days of the early 1990s when drops were straight and seldom exceeded 60 degrees. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed this little straight section between the first and second drops. It builds anticipation for the second one and gives you a brief moment to process what's happening and what is about to. We don't see a lot of it for obvious reasons, but well-placed straight track can still be used quite effectively. The airtime in the second half did not disappoint! It's Intamin-like. I wasn't prepared for how strong it was. "I am the Phantom... I will eat all of the high school children of Pittsburgh one green train at a time until my purple train is restored to glory! Do not test me, mortals...." Black Widow was closed for the first few hours and had hour-long waits thereafter so I decided not to ride. Too bad as I was looking forward to trying the Zamperla version after recently riding the Huss model at CP. So... Thunderbolt. I knew about the no single riders policy due to the NAD trains, but I figured I could simply wait it out in the station and eventually be paired with another single. Well I either didn't do my research or caught the crew on a bad day because I was promptly sent back out of line when they saw I did not have a partner. Is this typical? One reason I don't mind taking these coaster trips by myself is that I always meet people in the parks (belated shout-out to TPR member Carlos who I hung out with at CP!). So after getting rejected from Thunderbolt, I got in line for Jack Rabbit and began scoping for someone to talk to. No sooner had I got in line, then I SNEEZED. A girl several people behind "blessed me," so I walked up to her and said, "Hey, thanks. Want to ride Thunderbolt with me?" We stayed in line for the Rabbit, rode that, then headed back over to T-bolt. Tuuurtle... Tuuuurtle... Sky Rocket was fun and reminded me of Powder Keg in spirit if not in layout. Both have legitimate thrills but are just mild enough to be fit for familes who might shy away from Phantom/Outlaw Run, etc. These bunny hops could have amazing airtime if Kennywood dialed back on the trims just a tad. And speaking of trim brakes, what in the world is up with that one at the crest of the top hat? The train still reaches the peak at full speed, so it isn't used to lessen the negative g's there. What it does is kill any airtime on the way down. Has Sky Rocket always operated with it? I checked Black Widow a few times, but I was not about to wait a full hour for it. Phantom's line was a consistent 75 minutes all afternoon. I can't believe Kennywood. The park has no right to shut down this small business owner's extermination service. What if I saw a rat while at the park? Who's going to help me then? The Phantom himself? I think not. Kennywood should do a better job of staying within its bounds - like the federal government. You know that girl I recruited from Jack Rabbit to ride Thunderbolt with me? Well she had a friend with her who had to sit outside the station for forty minutes while the first girl rode with me. I felt like a dick. I also didn't care. I came out from California for this and I was not about to be denied my classic woodie credit! Before my trip I would never have guessed that Racer would become my favorite of the three Kennywoodies! Thunderbolt is the largest and Jack Rabbit has the double-dip, so Racer is usually reduced to just a footnote. I actually found it to be the most consistently, all-around enjoyable of the three. It's of an entirely different era, but it reminded me somewhat of Screamin' Eagle at SFStl in that neither has a ton of air or is particularly thrilling, but both are comfortable, extremely re-rideable, and a lot of fun for what they are. I noticed the green train won almost every time too. Does it always run faster? Loved the Rabbit and the double-dip! May it never change! So remember what I said about Phantom being good, but not great, earlier? Well take all that and throw it down into the ravine, because I came back to Phantom at night and it had transformed! It was faster, stronger, airtime-ier, and blew my previous rides away! On most of the coasters I ranked above it, I had at some point acquired a truly memorable experience on. Be it in the rain, at an enthusiast event, or a simple marathon at night, they had all cemented their place in my mind somehow. Phantom joins that club now. Three rides in the dark on a warm night can do that. The drop felt longer, I spent more time out of my seat, and tears were streaming out of the corners of my eyes as I dived out of and back into the ravine. I just wish I had more time left. My watch had become waterlogged in the rain at CP two days prior and finally stopped working some time that night at Kennywood, so I thought it was only 9:00, plenty of time for another 1-2 rides, right? Well, no, it was actually 10:20, which I was made frustratingly aware of when I saw the Phantom line was closed and it occurred to me to check my phone. Three night rides will have to do it. Welcome to my steel top 5, Phantom.
  11. I was there June 3-4. Maybe the rainbow is more common there than I thought!
  12. Day 2 of Cedar Point plus Waldameer Park. Including Rainbow-Gatekeeper! Raptor has been my favorite B&M for a long time but CP's infamous wind policies kept it closed for all but the first couple of hours both days I was there. I've seen B&Ms operate in much worse and Gatekeeper and Mantis both reopened in the same conditions but Raptor never did. I only got four rides on it, all early morning before opening with nearly empty trains so it didn't feel like the Raptor I remembered. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to give it another chance soon. Unlike Maverick, I had low expectations for Gatekeeper. But that turned out to be a good thing because I was completely unprepared for how much I actually liked it! I wouldn't call it intense, but it was far from the pushover I expected it to be. The first drop was fantastic and I could feel a little air over the cammelback. It still finishes weak though. It's irritating how B&M seems to just stop caring after the mid-course on many of their recent coasters. I knew Maxair would deliver. Love the giant frisbees. But can we please get some shade over the queue? There are still a handful of rides at CP with lines that warrant a few canvas awnings or something. This was the story with Raptor and Gatekeeper for most of my trip. I knew to expect it, but it still dumbfounds me. I took a few TGI Fridays beer breaks to escape the rain on my second day. I think this one was a Sam Adams Rebel IPA. I like Sam as a brewery, but their IPAs have been consistently awful. This was the first one I can recommend. Raptor can teach Gatekeeper a thing or two about a strong finish. With the helix it ends as strong as it starts, one of the reasons it has always been one of my favorites. Iron Dragon is just a family ride at this point, but a good one. Hopefully CP keeps it for a long time. Aww man both dragsters are closed (though I think it actually was open in this shot)! Soak City has come a long way from what I remember. Gemini disappointed me a little. I remember having these crazy marathon sessions on it when I was younger where I would ride it ten times straight and the airtime felt almost Magnum-like. Not anymore. It's still fun if the ride ops manage to race it, though the air seems to have disappeared. This one might just be a case of having different standards from ten+ years and 100+ credits ago. They took MF down to one train once the rain really started coming down. I understand going from three down to two for spacing purposes when the track is wet, but why go all the way to one and strand riders in line out in the rain so much longer? Windy B&Ms and rainy MF aside, CP's operations still were great all-around. And can I say how blisteringly AWESOME Millennium Force is in the rain? I rode it five times like that until my clothes were soaked through and I was shivering. The raindrops hurt like rubber bullets but it amplifies the experience so much! I'm so glad I finally got to do this. I finally made up my mind to do Mean Streak after the rain. The track work has helped and it wasn't uncomfortable at all. Not that that means it's a good coaster or anything. It still needs to go. The best part about the rain? RAINBOW GATEKEEPER!!! Keyholing and inverting under this rainbow was one of the most unique coaster experiences I've ever had. It lasted long enough to get three rides in before it disappeared. You can even see the double rainbow in a few of the pics. Loved the lighting conditions afterward. The next day was my first visit to Waldameer Park. Instead of running straight to Ravine Flyer II I had to make a detour to Comet first. Credit #199... ... and #200! I originally wanted to make Maverick my two-hundredth, but Ravine Flyer did nicely and I enjoyed it just as much. I love Gravity Group. My favorite wood coaster firm over even RMC and Intamin. Yeah, their rides take a lot of effort to maintain in peak condition, but when they do there's almost nothing better to me. My second ARM/Larson Super Shot. Still the best drop rides out there. "Look! To the right... A coaster enthusiast!" Steel Dragon is the prefect steel coaster for Waldameer. It was also probably the best out of my limited list of spinning coasters. That accolade lasted all of one day. Can Knott's please trade Silver Bullet for one of these? Comet was a fun family woodie. Anything with buzz bars is okay by me even if there isn't much air. The tree grove setting is what really makes it. RFII wins best airtime of the trip. Every foot of track on this thing counts. Nothing is wasted. The drop has sustained ejector air all the way plus my favorite lift hill view of any coaster. Nothing like flying out of your seat, gazing out on Lake Erie on the way down. I guess you could say Magnum or MF do the same thing, but something about the hillside and greenery around RFII makes it better. As much as I liked Ravine Flyer it doesn't crack my wooden top 5. I place it 6th after Boulder Dash, Voyage, El Toro, Phoenix, and Outlaw Run. They're all so close though. Looking across the river at downtown Pittsburgh the night before Kennywood.
  13. More CP pics plus Waldameer and Kennywood soon to come!
  14. I returned to Cedar Point for the first time in ten years and made stops at Waldameer Park and Kennywood afterward. My trip took place from June 3-6, meaning I narrowly dodged the CP water main incident by a couple of days. Weather was good for all but my second day at CP, and near all-day rain on that day ended up being a great thing and allowed me some of the most memorable rides of my life! Maverick and Gatekeeper were new credits for me and Skyhawk, Maxair, and plenty of other flats were built since my last visit as well. This was my first time visiting both Waldameer and Kennywood so lots of new experiences there. MF is not the most universally acclaimed coaster on this site. It has long been in my top 5 but I was curious if it would still seem as impressive now that I have triple the credits I did when I last rode it. So... was it? At first, no. I definitely saw the limitations to its layout compared to newer Intamins and the airtime was not comparable, as I knew would be the case. But the ride kept growing on me the more I rode it. It sped up nicely throughout the day and the airtime was definitely there. Still not ejector (aside from the first drop) but as strong as floater air gets before nearing ejector territory. It would stay firmly in my top 5 by the end of my two days. I have long been one of those, "Nah, Mantis ain't that bad, brah," guys. In my mind I still thought it comparable to Riddler's Revenge and not too far behind Georgia Scorcher. But no more. It ran fast and I don't think the drop trim even came on, but it was simply too rough to enjoy. Many elements were jarring. I'm just glad to remember its better days. I still say it probably has the best layout on paper among B&M standups, but I can see why B&M dialed back the pacing and quick transitions on Riddler's Revenge. But then again, Green Lantern is more drawn-out than Mantis too and it's just as rough, so who knows? Impulses still do almost nothing for me, but Wicked Twister did kind of scare me for a moment. Normally I have an iron stomach that can take any quantity of food/alcohol and ride with no problem. Drinking in 5+ world showcase countries then riding Mission Space is a favorite pastime of mine. But I almost got sick going up WT's front spike. Then it hit me why - my stomach was totally empty! I liked my last pic so much I was compelled to recreate it! Corkscrew. What's there to say? Anyone who's ever been on a vintage Arrow knows what to expect. Magnum is another coaster plenty of well-traveled enthusiasts like to dump on. I have always loved it and ten years later I still do. It is not rough whatsoever if you know where to ride it. For anyone who finds Magnum painful, remember this: ride in the middle row of ANY CAR. These seats are not over wheels. YOU WILL NOT GET HURT. As for the more recent brand of Magnum critics who claim the airtime into the lapbars is painful: Man up. We are not couch enthusiasts and Magnum is not Skyrush (which still doesn't hurt me, but I understand the complaints better). If a coaster has strong enough air to make your thighs collide with the lap bar, it's doing something right. maybe hit the gym and build up your quads or something. I don't know what else to suggest. Dragster was closed both days. First allegedly for "wind" and then more legitimately for mechanical issues. Disappointed I did not get to ride it again after waiting ten years, but it couldn't ruin my trip! There's still a ton of room all around the Mine Ride for future attractions. I know flying coasters aren't in-vogue anymore, but I have long dreamed of a B&M flyer in this spot that crossed over and around the Mine Ride. The new Gemini midway looks fantastic. I only tried Lake Erie Eagles but all of the new rides help the area. It looks not unlike the UNLV law building. There are better mine trains and there are worse. Still enjoyable for something to relax on. Loved Skyhawk. It was the first full-size S&S swing I've been on and I actually preferred it to Maxair. Also, I'm pretty sure this is the only ride with a Cedar Fair-mandatory "hawk" name at CP. Take a moment and picture my imaginary B&M flyer with me. "What IS this? A COASTER FOR ANTS??? How are we supposed to teach kids what types of coasters to enjoy if they can't even fit on the ride? It needs to be at least... THREE TIMES bigger than this!" I still don't really do water rides. This is what I was most looking forward to. Maverick has been around for a while but it was built three years after my last visit to CP so it has always been that great "lost" coaster for me. Only problem was that may expectations were so high, if Maverick became anything less than my #2 steel coaster it would have felt like a disappointment. So did it live up to my expectations? YESSSSSSS!!! I waited until the second day to ride that one in the background. I believe it is called "WoodHawk." Maverick was every bit the out-of-control intensity monster I hoped it would be. It only took me a couple of rides to learn how to lean forward and into the turns to avoid the neck-chopping. Immense negative g's going over this and the second cammelback. It's a challenge to keep the restraint up to give yourself float room though. I loved the snappiness of these two rolls. Are they officially termed corkscrews? What do we all call maverick's inversions anyway? Glad WWL's station survived. Still the best station/queue in the park. I didn't ride Shoot the Rapids but the presentation looks excellent. Water rides are usually a "only with a group" thing for me. "Say Bill, that plaque doesn't still say, "Intamin Giga Roller Coaster" on it, does it?" "Sure does, Bob. Better change it out. Corporate says it must say "Hawk" on it somewhere."
  15. Only two new additions inside my top 20 this year. The most glaring omission from my list is still Maverick, so I'll try again to add it in 2014. Skyrush Hersheypark PA,y,n,1 Raptor Cedar Point OH,y,n,2 Kumba Busch Gardens Tamp FL,y,n,3 Millennium Force Cedar Point OH,y,n,4 Goliath Six Flags Over Geo GA,y,n,5 Nitro Six Flags Great Ad NJ,y,n,6 Bizarro SF New England MA,y,n,7 Magnum XL-200 Cedar Point OH,y,n,8 Storm Runner Hersheypark PA,y,n,9 Mindbender Six Flags Over Geo GA,y,n,10 Chinese Fireball Islands of Adventu FL,y,n,11 Montu Busch Gardens Tamp FL,y,n,12 Flight Deck California's Great CA,y,n,13 Powder Keg Silver Dollar City MO,y,y,14 Wildfire Silver Dollar City MO,y,y,15 Revenge of the Mummy Universal Studios FL,y,n,16 Tatsu Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,17 Manta SeaWorld Orlando FL,y,n,18 Kraken SeaWorld Orlando FL,y,n,19 Superman:Krypton Cstr Six Flags Fiesta T TX,y,n,20 X2 Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,21 XCelerator Knott's Berry Farm CA,y,y,22 SheiKra Busch Gardens Tamp FL,y,n,23 Full Throttle Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,24 Great Bear Hersheypark PA,y,n,25 Talon Dorney Park PA,y,n,26 Hungarian Horntail Islands of Adventu FL,y,n,27 Cheetah Hunt Busch Gardens Tamp FL,y,n,28 Batman The Ride/Clone SF & Other Parks **,y,y,29 Georgia Scorcher Six Flags Over Geo GA,y,n,30 Steel Force Dorney Park PA,y,n,31 Mamba Worlds of Fun MO,y,y,32 Medusa SF Discovery Kingd CA,y,n,33 Dominator Kings Dominion VA,y,n,34 Gemini Cedar Point OH,y,n,35 Incredible Hulk Islands of Adventu FL,y,n,36 Expedition Everest Disney Animal King FL,y,n,37 California Screamin' Disney CA Adventur CA,y,y,38 Fav Arrow Mine Train Any Park Anywhere **,y,y,39 Fav El Loco Any Park Anywhere **,y,y,40 Fav Schw Shuttle loop Any Park Anywhere **,y,y,41 Top Thrill Dragster Cedar Point OH,y,n,42 Kingda Ka Six Flags Great Ad NJ,y,n,43 Sooperdooperlooper Hersheypark PA,y,n,44 Firehawk Kings Island OH,y,n,45 Fahrenheit Hersheypark PA,y,n,46 Bizarro Six Flags Great Ad NJ,y,n,47 Scream! Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,48 Big Thunder Mountain Disneyland CA,y,n,49 Space Mountain Disneyland CA,y,y,50 Space Mountain WDW Magic Kingdom FL,y,n,51 Big Thunder Mountain WDW Magic Kingdom FL,y,n,52 Hollywood Rip Ride Ro Universal Studios FL,y,n,53 Goliath Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,54 Flight of Fear Kings Island OH,y,n,55 Rock n Roller Coaster Disney's H Studios FL,y,n,56 Flight Deck Kings Island OH,y,n,57 Canyon Blaster Adventuredome NV,y,y,58 Riddler's Revenge Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,59 Mr. Freeze Reverse Bl Six Flags St. Loui MO,y,y,60 Fav Giant Inv. Boom Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,61 Matterhorn Bobsleds Disneyland CA,y,y,62 Hydra the Revenge Dorney Park PA,y,n,63 Batman - Dark Knight SF New England MA,y,n,64 Mantis Cedar Point OH,y,n,65 Green Lantern Six Flags Great Ad NJ,y,n,66 Silver Bullet Knott's Berry Farm CA,y,y,67 Patriot Worlds of Fun MO,y,n,68 Ninja Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,n,69 Vortex Kings Island OH,y,n,70 Fav Loop. Star/S.Arr. Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,71 Fav Intamin Impulse Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,72 Superman - Ultimate F Six Flags Parks **,y,n,73 Revenge of the Mummy Universal Studios CA,y,n,74 Desperado Buffalo Bill's Res NV,y,n,75 Superman: Escape From Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,76 Superman Ultimate Fl. SF Discovery Kingd CA,y,n,77 Fav Vekoma Invertigo Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,78 Iron Dragon Cedar Point OH,y,n,79 Revolution Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,80 Fav Loop-Screw Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,81 Fav Vek Susp Loop SLC Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,82 Fav Vekoma Boomerang Any Park Anywhere **,y,y,83 Fav Gerstlauer Spinn. Any Park Anywhere **,y,y,84 Fav Wild Mouse Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,85 Viper Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,86 Ninja Six Flags St. Loui MO,y,y,87 Ninja Six Flags Over Geo GA,y,n,88 Journey to Atlantis SeaWorld Orlando FL,y,n,89 Fav Arrow Corkscrew Any Park Anywhere **,y,y,90 Green Lantern:1st Fl. Six Flags Magic Mo CA,y,y,91 Vortex California's Great CA,y,n,92 Fav Spinning Mouse Any Park Anywhere **,y,n,93 Dark Knight Six Flags Parks **,y,n,94 Sierra Sidewnder Knott's Berry Farm CA,y,y,95 Santa Monica West Coa Pacific Park CA,y,n,96 Pony Express Knott's Berry Farm CA,y,n,97 Roller Coaster New York New York NV,y,n,98
  16. So in other words, "We're getting rid of water and grass!" Terrific PR spin, but I agree it's probably a good thing for crowd flow.
  17. California: Flight Deck Nevada: El Loco Idaho: Tremors Missouri: Outlaw Run Indiana: Voyage Ohio: Raptor Pennsylvania: Skyrush New Jersey: El Toro Connecticut: Boulder Dash Massachusetts: Bizarro Florida: Kumba Georgia: Goliath Texas: Superman Krypton Coaster
  18. Another spectacular looking hotel from Gaylord. I am a little disappointed there doesn't appear to be a giant atrium like their other properties, but the water park is good compensation! Interesting to learn that Marriott manages them now. As a hotel mgmt. major, I was very unimpressed with the service I received at Gaylord Palms a few years ago and I'm sure Marriott is improving it.
  19. I guess I'm lucky to not have had any of my favorites taken away yet (or not, because that means I have no nostalgic defunct coaster credits!), so I say my top two are Big Dipper @ Geauga Lake and Speed: The Ride.
  20. That's my problem with my off-ride impression of Banshee as well. The layout has no pacing or progression of any kind (I think Montu and Raptor are the clearest large invert examples of how to do this) and just goes from one drawn-out inversion to the next the whole way through. I'm not claiming that these elements won't end up being enjoyable, but from a designer's perspective there is no variation or attempt made to tighten the pace after the first half. Not trying to be a naysayer before riding, but B&M has plenty of recent coasters to base this conclusion on. I plan to visit KI this year and hope Banshee is great!
  21. If all goes according to plan... Spring: Adventuredome Gilroy Gardens Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk California's Great America Summer: Kings island Cedar Point Waldameer Kennywood Fall: Either the Orlando parks or a quick Pennsylvania weekend to Knoebels and Hershey Plus at least a couple trips to Knott's, SFMM, and DLR
  22. Man, I wish they had built this before I moved! Rides and family attractions haven't been the focus of the Vegas strip in a long time, but we really needed this. Hopefully I'll make a trip back there to ride it soon.
  23. Not a bad idea. Perhaps now Gold Striker can get the Prudential tie-in name it has long deserved. (waits for the person who doesn't understand sarcasm)
  24. Six Flags: El Toro Cedar Fair: Raptor Disney: Big Thunder Mtn (DLR) Universal: Dueling Dragons Fire Sea World: Kumba Herschend: Outlaw Run
  25. That was the weird thing about my experience with Prowler. I don't remember which train I rode, but it felt FAST. The sensation of speed seemed much greater than it did on American Thunder a few days later. The difference is that on American Thunder I was lifting out of my seat all over the place while on Prowler my butt stayed firmly planted. Not really sure why. It's the same kind of experience I had on Bizarro at SFNE the year before.
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